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Ice cream giving other indulgence products a licking?

Category sales have been solid during a chilly economy, and green packaging appears to be one tactic that might be helping to drive sales.

IceCream.jpgSales are down in a number of product categories, but ice cream seems to be lapping up profits at the checkout. The fact that ice cream brands also are beginning to lean toward eco-friendly and recyclable materials isn’t hurting the category’s prospects, either.

According to a report from Mintel, the U.S. ice cream market is growing. In addition, the combined value of the top five European ice cream markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K.) has seen significant growth during the past two years, during a worldwide recession.

The “no additives/preservatives” claim seems to be a big factor in driving sales. Mintel’s Global New Products Database’s numbers say that 13% of all product launches include such a claim.

Mintel’s report identified a quantifiable push in green packaging in the ice cream segment. In the past six months, 13% of ice cream products leveraged packaging to support the environmentally friendly message. That number doubles the percentage of eco-friendly claims from Mintel’s previous reporting period.

Ice cream sales have stayed strong during tough economic times in part because consumers are deciding on tradeoffs in which they delay more expensive luxuries, such as big-ticket items, in favor of pampering themselves with small indulgences. Claims of eco-friendly packaging that avoid the pitfall of greenwashing can help spur additional sales if shoppers are on the fence about which brand to purchase.

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